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Jamie Foxx smashes his teeth for new film The Soloist

by Joanna Ching. Published Fri 04 Sep 2009 15:56, last updated: 05/09/09
Jamie keeping his lips seeled
Jamie keeping his lips seeled

Jamie Foxx battled old demons and gave up his Hollywood smile to become schizophrenic music prodigy Nathaniel Anthony for new film The Soloist.

The comedian-actor asked his dentist to chisel down his front teeth and make them look crooked.

His new role pushed him to his limit mentally, and brought up flashbacks from a nasty episode in his teens where his drink was spiked at a college party.

Jamie, who won an Oscar for his portrayal of music legend Ray Charles, spent time living on the streets to prep for the flick, filmed on LA's notorious Skid Row, using 450 homeless extras.

He started hearing voices in his head and puts his vulnerability down to losing weight - 18lbs for his role as a vagabond musical genius.

Jamie said: "I was in a bad place because I felt like I might be literally losing my mind."

"I've always had a childhood fear of losing my mind.

He saw a psychiatrist midway through fliming and explored his fear of mental illness going back to when he was 18 when his drink was spiked with PCP (phencyclidine) at a college party.

Jamie played piano from the age of five and at 18 he won a music scholarship to study at the University of San Diego.

At a dorm party his whisky was spiked as a 'practical joke' and he suddenly felt terrible.

"The floor was moving, the faces of the other people were contorted. I know who it was, but he wasn't a friend.

"I was drinking whisky and it didn't taste funny, so I had no idea. It took about 15 minutes and I knew something was wrong.

"I said to my room-mate 'Something is going on, and I don't know what it is, but I'm going to ride it out.'

"That was the last thing I said, and then I was almost in a coma and I couldn't move, couldn't talk, couldn't even say 'take me to the hospital.'

"My friend could see something was badly wrong and he took me to the emergency room.

"Mark stayed at the hospital with me. Then he took me back to the dorm and I was afraid of the dark and he would talk to me every night and calm me down and say stuff like, 'You're OK, the demons aren't real.'

"He saved my life."

Jamie continued to suffer from flashbacks and nightmares over the following year and again into his 30s.

"It felt like all of my fears were coming true and I was going crazy.

"I read up on PCP and it leaves a fingerprint and you can't get it out of your system. It happened to me when I was 18 and I had 11 months of harsh flashbacks, and then when I was 26 I had a flashback just like that - and another when I was 32, and that was the last one, but I always worry about it coming back.

"It was like living your worst nightmares. You're afraid of the dark, afraid of things you see on the TV, you feel that things are coming at you.

"I felt paranoid, and paranoia is craziness. It's not good."

"Doing this movie recalled the thing with PCP and my fear of mental illness.

"I don't want to lose my mind for real by doing this character."




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